Andrew Luck just said no to the Carolina Panthers.
It was just two weeks ago we were all ecstatic that our team held the number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Remember that? Now…not so much.
Okay, Andrew, stay in school. Get your degree. Maybe we’ll have a shot at you next year.
Whatever happens those of us dreaming of taking the kid from Stanford will have to keep dreaming.
So where does this leave us? We still hold that pick. It’s ours. What should the team do now?
One answer that will get thrown around is trading down. But will it be that easy? Consider that Luck had declared. The pick would hold a lot more value to the other 32 teams. Without him in the mix, the value has plummeted. There could still be enough talent at the top of the draft board to entice a team to pull the trigger on a deal but it’s less likely now.
Let’s just go on the assumption that we keep the pick. Who do we take? Here are five options in no particular order.
Da’Quan Bowers – DE, Clemson
He started slow at the college level and the coaches put more pressure on him to produce this past season. He did. The kid was all over the place and became a finalist for the Lombardi Award, Bednarik Award and the Nagurski Award for 2010
He fits well into a 4-3 system and would work well opposite Charles Johnson but there’s a knock on him in that his leverage is, at times, rather weak.
Patrick Peterson – CB, LSU
He’s been touted for some time now and continued to prove himself again this season at LSU. He racked up numerous honors in 2010 including: Bedarik Award Winner (Nation’s top defender, Thorpe Award Winner (Top DB), Concesus All-American, First-Team All American (AP, AFCA Coaches, Walter Camp, Football Wroters Assoc. of America, CBSSports.com, Rivals.com, SI.com, CollegeFootballNews.com).
The kid at times had analysts comparing him to Derelle Revis. With the likely departure of Richard Marshall, Peterson could be a good fit.
A.J. Green – WR, Georgia
He’s got the tools to succeed at the next level though some wonder about his route running.
Green may be a last resort considering the team just invested so many picks in WR’s and the fact that development can be slow at this position.
Nick Fairly – DT, Auburn
This kid exploded onto the scene this season as he had spent 2008 in JUCO ball and had only 2 starts at Auburn in 2009. But he was a major presence in the Tigers’ defense in 2010 and earned himself an awful lot of attention leading up to the draft.
At 6’5″ 298 he could be the answer in the middle of the Panthers defense – likely the weakest area of the team. He could be a solid addition.
However, the knocks on him are that he doesn’t work terribly well against double teams and that his motor tends to run hot and cold.
Ryan Mallett – QB, Arkansas
Some scouts have been left scratching their heads at times after some of his passes wondering why he would make the throw leading some to wonder if he was in love with his arm strength.
He looks more and more like a boom or bust pick that could go either way.